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Date: 2024-07-24 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00022406
BABY FORMULA
RISK ECONOMICS

Reuters ... Baby formula crunch in U.S. forces scramble to boost supplies



Original article: https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/baby-formula-crunch-us-forces-scramble-boost-supplies-2022-05-20/
Burgess COMMENTARY
The baby formula shortage in the Unites States is just another example of the fragility of the modern world economy where efficiency is defined simply as the earning of financial profit.

Major business schools need to take some responsibility for this ... especially the elite business schools in the United States which have been teaching students how tim improve profit performance for many generations of students, but without putting profit performance into a more comprehensive context.

In the United States the production of baby formula is highly concentrated with just four companies dominating the market. This is a problem in itself, but is made a lot worse by the fact that the production of baby formula is not particularly important in the bigger scheme of things for any of these very very large companies. By the time, issues got the attention of top management in the corporate hierarchy, the problem was impossible to contain. From a profit point of view it did not do much damage but for the customer the situation was a nightmare.

The mantra of free enterprise capitalists is that all problems will be resolved by the operation of the market. I don't see that being the reality in a world where the goal is profit ... though it might be more the reality if the prevailing goal was for an optimized balance of social, environmental and economic performance, but we are still along way from that desirable goal.
Peter Burgess
Reuters ... Baby formula crunch in U.S. forces scramble to boost supplies

May 20, 2022 ... 7:08 AM EDT

Texas mother struggles to find formula for her baby

Kim Anatra checks the label of a formula available at a grocery store as she struggles to find formula for her 5-month-old daughter, Sienna, amid continuing nationwide shortages in infant and toddler formula, in Houston, Texas, U.S., May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare

May 20 (Reuters) - The nationwide shortage of baby formula has prompted the United States to temporarily allow foreign imports from other suppliers, while reaching a deal with Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) on steps to resume production at its Michigan plant.

Top infant formula makers, including Reckitt Benckiser (RKT.L), Nestle (NESN.S) and Danone SA (DANO.PA), are also ramping up supplies to the country.

Here is a timeline of how the crisis unfolded and measures being taken to resolve it:

Feb. 17 Abbott recalls dozens of types of powdered baby formulas, including Similac, Alimentum and EleCare, made at its Sturgis, Michigan plant after four consumers complained about bacterial infections in infants who had consumed those products; Recalled products had an expiry date of April 1, 2022 or later. read more

Feb. 21 China's custom officials warn consumers against buying and consuming certain of Abbott's infant and baby products. read more

Feb. 28 Abbott expands recall to include some Similac PM 60/40 products based on a fifth complaint of a bacterial infection. read more

March 4 House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro asks for an investigation into the FDA's handling of the Abbott recall.

March 9 The Salmonella Newport illness, which was previously included in the investigation of complaints and illnesses, has been removed, the FDA says. The regulator has determined that there is not enough information to definitively link the illness to powdered infant formula.

March 22 FDA probe of Abbott's Michigan facility finds a harmful bacteria called Cronobacter sakazakii on the surface of some areas near infant formula production and reveals Abbott did not have a control system covering all stages of processing to prevent microbe contamination. read more

April 20 Abbott cuts full-year sales growth forecast, citing the voluntary recall of the infant formula products but keeps profit estimate. Abbott calls the recall a 'short-term hindrance'. read more

April 28 House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro in a testimony submits a report acquired from a whistleblower, who had worked at the Abbott facility and had filed a complaint with the FDA in September 2021.

April 29 Abbott says it will release limited quantities of nutrition products that were put on hold after February recall. read more

May 10 Major U.S. retailers including Target Corp (TGT.N), CVS Health Corp (CVS.N), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA.O) and Kroger Co (KR.N) place purchase limits on infant formula products. read more

Abbott says it has been prioritizing production of formula at other plants and ships formula from its Ireland facility.

May 11 U.S. lawmakers plan to hold a hearing on May 25, the House Energy and Commerce Committee says, calling the shortage 'increasingly alarming'. read more Abbott says it could restart production at its Michigan facility within two weeks following approval from the FDA, but add that it would take six to eight weeks for the product to hit the shelves after the resumption. read more

May 12 President Joe Biden meets with executives from baby formula manufacturers and retailers including Target, Walmart and Nestle's Gerber to address the shortage. read more U.S. House Appropriations Committee says FDA Commissioner Robert Califf is set to testify the agency's response to the shortage before the panel on May 19. read more

May 13 The U.S. House Oversight Committee plans to investigate the shortage, saying it has sent letters seeking information to the four largest manufacturers of baby formula - Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nestle USA and Perrigo. read more U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) closes its investigation on Abbott, while Abbott said it has air shipped millions of cans of baby formula powder into the United States from its facility in Ireland. read more Store-brand baby formula maker Perrigo Co (PRGO.N) says shortages and heightened demand may last for the rest of the year. read more

May 16 The FDA says the United States will allow imports of infant formula from foreign makers that do not usually sell their products in the country. read more Abbott reaches agreement with the FDA on the steps needed to resume production at its Michigan plant. read more

May 17 U.S. House Democrats unveil a bill to provide $28 million in emergency funds to the FDA to help it respond to the shortage and bolster supervision of the industry. read more Nestle SA (NESN.S) told Reuters it was flying supplies to the country from the Netherlands and Switzerland. Reckitt Benckiser (RKT.L), the second largest U.S. milk formula supplier, is boosting baby formula production by about 30%.

May 18 U.S. President Biden invokes the Defense Production Act to help manufacturers obtain the ingredients needed to ramp up supply. read more Several Canadian retailers have imposed purchase limits on baby formula products, says Retail Council of Canada spokesperson, adding the country has not been as hard hit by the shortage.

May 19 Abbott and the FDA are on track to reopen the company's Michigan plant within one or two weeks, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf says. read more

May 20 French baby formula maker Danone SA (DANO.PA) has ramped up shipments of infant formula from Europe to the United States, according to U.S. customs data and shipping consultancy Ocean Audit. read more

Reporting by Deborah Sophia and Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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